Akwasi Asamoah

PhD Research Fellow
Lignocellulosic Science & Technology; Auxetic Lignocellulosic Science & Technology

Publications

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    Akwasi Asamoah
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    ABSTRACT: Almost all matter including viscoelastic cellulose respond to energy changes which almost invariably influence its atomic and or molecular bond characteristics (length, orientation, and geometry). Changes in bonding characteristics of conformationally isomeric cellulose is characterised by variations in the relative amounts of rotamers which has implications on the molecular organization and physical integrity of cellulose that should inform the processing and material application of cellulose. Cellulose is also auxetic. To fully understand cellulose conformational isomerism and auxetics of crystalline cellulose, a 1D bundle of cellulose microfibrils and 2D networks of cellulose mircofibrils were stretched in a Deben micro-tester, and their molecular straining followed with Raman spectroscopy. Amounts of rotamers was found to decrease with stress or strain, which influences the level of molecular order or disorder (degree of crystallinity), and in turn changes (inter-conversions) of cellulose conformations. The auxetics of crystalline cellulose was also found to be around unity (-1.00).
    International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials, Atlanta, GA United States; 06/2015
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    Akwasi Asamoah
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    ABSTRACT: The axial and lateral straining of naturally composited straight 1D lignified flax fibre, and straight and bent 2D cellulose networks, namely tunicate cellulose, bacterial cellulose and microfibrillated cellulose, were investigated by straining in tension using a Deben micro-tester, and following molecular deformation with Raman spectroscopy with the aim of deeply understanding the origins, magnitudes of in-plane auxetics and how auxetics may possibly translate from within the cellulose microfibril to the complex naturally composited networks of cellulose microfibrils (e.g. secondary xylem/wood) in order to inform innovation of smarter and versatile auxetic cellulosic materials. Cellulose, has a three-point yielding, and each point characterises the rupturing of a specific bonding either between or within cellulose microfibril. During deformation of cellulose, microfibril-microfibril interactions (often dominated by hydrogen bonding) first receive stress, and transfer it to molecular glycosidic (C-O-C) bonds, and then to the possibly re-entrant inter chain or intermolecular hydrogen bonds. Due to viscoelasticity, possibly re-entrant inter chain or intermolecular hydrogen bonds rupture before molecular glycosidic (C-O-C) bonds. In-plane mapping of spectral intensity of 1D flax fibre and 2D cellulose networks confirms the model arrangement of crystals and amorphous serially lying parallel to each other in an alternating pattern on-axis or in-plane. Raman band intensity in-plane almost invariably gently slopes in the negative and wane in unstrained (0.00%) straight 1D and 2D networks of naturally composited cellulose. Raman band intensity is highest in the axial direction, lower in the lateral direction and lowest in the acute direction of unstrained (0.00%) straight 1D and 2D networks of naturally composited cellulose. Naturally composited 1D and 2D networks of cellulose microfibrils tend to align, homogenize and readjust interatomic distances under strain and Raman band intensities are rid of gentle negative slope and waning. Under axial tensile strain, the 1095 cm-1 Raman band continually shifts to lower wavenumber. Under axial tensile strain, Raman band shift rate is highest in the axial directions, lower in the lateral directions, and lowest in the acute (all amorphous) directions of naturally composited cellulose. Under axial tensile strain, Raman band shift rates in the acute direction is highest while under axial compressive strain, Raman band shift rates in the acute direction is lowest. Tunicate cellulose exhibit highest axial expansion (highest axial Raman band shift rate) (-1.010 cm-1 %-1), whereas microfibrillated cellulose exhibits lower axial expansion (-0.943 cm-1 %-1), and bacterial cellulose exhibits lowest axial (-0.076 cm-1 %-1) expansion. Tunicate cellulose expands highest axially, microfibrillated cellulose expands lower axially, while bacterial cellulose expands lowest axially because atoms of C-O-C bonds of cellulose chains of the somewhat straight cellulose microfibrils of tunicate cellulose were freest to vibrate than the somewhat bent cellulose microfibrils of microfibrilated cellulose and the somewhat bent and overly meandering (and bifurcating and tangling) cellulose microfibrils of bacterial cellulose. Tunicate cellulose expands more axially and laterally than bacterial cellulose, but both tunicate cellulose (-0.95) and bacterial cellulose (-1.00) show a before-intermolecular-hydrogen-bonding-yield-point auxetics of around unity, a value that is becoming typical of cellulose crystals as has been reported by Peura and others using x-ray defractometry. Though curvature and tangling somewhat improves axial strain to failure, they somewhat limit expansion of 2D networks of cellulose microfibrils in all respective directions.
    The 6th Workshop on Cellulose, Regenerated Cellulose and Cellulose Derivatives, Karlstad University, Sweden; 11/2014
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    Akwasi Asamoah
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    ABSTRACT: Materials are coated in order to offer them protection from their environment and/or to deliver them to a specific host. The tunability, affordability and greenness of a coating determines to a large extent the versatile usage of the coating and the core material or product. Nevertheless, very few readily available coating materials are all of the above and more. Nano-sized cellulose increasingly proves to have tremendous potential as coating material. The varied properties of different kinds and phases of nanocellulose makes it increasingly unmatched for potential versatile use in coating technology. This contribution seeks to point out some of the varied properties of different kinds and phases of nanocellulose, and their versatile usability in coating.
    Advanced Coating Fundamentals Symposium-TAPPI, Minneapolis, MN United States; 10/2014
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    Akwasi Asamoah, Stephen Eichhorn, Ken Evans
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    ABSTRACT: Unlike conventional (positive Poisson's ratio) materials, when auxetic (negative Poisson's ratio) materials are stretched, they expand in at least one direction at 90° to the direction of stretch. Cellulose is believed to be auxetic. To fully appreciate the auxetics of non-native (processed) cellulose, a 1D bundle of cellulose microfibrils and 2D networks of cellulose mircofibrils were stretched in a Deben micro-tester, and their molecular straining followed in-plane with Raman spectroscopy. It was found that cellulose exhibits three distinct yielding points. Also, it was found that amorphous cellulose is more auxetic than crystalline cellulose while hydrogen bonds have not yielded. The 2D network of cellulose mircofibrils rather limits auxetics of single 1D cellulose microfibrils in a network. Differences in auxetics between crystals and amorphous must arise from the extra intermolecular hydrogen bonding in crystalline cellulose and associated differences in intermolecular bonding geometry. Similarity of trends of in-plane auxetics of cellulose to the off-axis auxetics of zeolites indicates similarity of structure at the nano-scale and the possibility of combining both of these semi-crystalline materials to produce ones with photo-electro-mechanical properties. Expanded background For decades now, auxetic materials have been knowingly or unknowingly used in specific technological applications 1 . In whichever technological application that auxetic materials are used, one or a combination of properties including increased indentation resistance, increased
    Pending publication. 10/2014;
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    Akwasi Asamoah
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    ABSTRACT: The orthogonal straining of naturally composited straight 1D lignified flax fibre, and straight and bent 2D cellulose networks, namely tunicate cellulose, bacterial cellulose and microfibrillated cellulose, were investigated by straining in tension using a Deben micro-tester, and following molecular deformation with Raman spectroscopy with the aim of deeply understanding the origins, magnitudes of in-plane auxetics and how auxetics may possibly translate from within the cellulose microfibril to the complex naturally composited networks of cellulose microfibrils (e.g secondary xylem/wood) in order to inform innovation of smarter and versatile auxetic cellulosic materials. Naturally composited cellulose materials, has a three- point yielding, and each point characterises the rupturing of a specific bonding either between or within cellulose microfibril. Cellulose, has a three-point yielding, and each point characterises the rupturing of a specific bonding either between or within cellulose microfibril. During deformation of cellulose, microfibril-microfibril interactions (often dominated by hydrogen bonding) first receive stress, and transfer it to molecular glycosidic (C-O-C) bonds, and then to the possibly re-entrant inter chain or intermolecular hydrogen bonds. Due to viscoelasticity, possibly re-entrant inter chain or intermolecular hydrogen bonds rupture before molecular glycosidic (C-O-C) bonds. Auxetics can be calculated before the yield points of any of these bonds. Cellulose crystals are stiffer because the stiff C-O-C bonds of their cellulose chains which may spiral parallel to the long axis of crystals are well reinforced on the sides (laterally) of cellulose chains by possibly re-entrant intermolecular hydrogen bonds, which must rupture before the C-O-C bonds themselves begin to strain. The limits of mechanical properties (vibrations of atoms) of naturally composited cellulose is mainly determined by the dimensions of cellulose crystals which in turn depends on the packing of cellulose chains from source. In-plane mapping of spectral intensity of 1D flax fibre and 2D cellulose networks confirms the model arrangement of naturally composite cellulose as crystals and amorphous serially lying parallel to each other alternating pattern on-axis or in-plane. Intensity plots proximate, negatively slope gently and wane (from damping: building of residual atomic vibrations) and shape roughly in all naturally composited cellulose samples under 0.00% strain. Raman band intensity is highest in the axial direction, lower in the lateral direction and lowest in the acute direction of unstrained (0.00%) straight 1D and 2D networks of naturally composited cellulose. Under significant strain, cellulose chains straighten (lose spiralling), homogenize and readjust interatomic distances with intensity plots separating in- between acute directions. Straightening and homogenization of cellulose chains also cause C- O-C bonds to lose residual atomic vibrations (damping) whose frequencies otherwise interfere destructively with the vibrational frequencies of the atoms of C-O-C bonds immediately from incidence, thereby ridding intensity plots of gentle negative slopes. Raman band intensities are generally higher in respective directions of 2D cellulose networks than Page 2 straight 1D lignified flax fibre because average atomic vibrational frequency in respective directions is recorded from a lot more cellulose microfibrils in 2D cellulose networks than in straight 1D lignified flax fibre. A Raman light, whether on a straight 1D flax fibre or 2D random cellulose network, can be considered to be covering a spot of such model arrangement of crystals and amorphous wherein atoms of C-O-C bonds vibrate somewhat confined (as in the lateral direction) or less confined (as in the axial direction) or unconfined (as in the acute direction) of majority of spot cellulose microfibrils which may either predominantly be in tension or compression under uniaxial tensile strain. Under axial strain, the 1095 cm-1 Raman band continually shifts to lower wavenumber. When majority of spot cellulose microfibrils are predominantly in tensile strain, shift rates are almost invariably to higher values in the axial direction than in the lateral direction of all naturally composited cellulose samples. When majority of spot cellulose microfibrils are predominantly in tension or compression, shift rates in the acute (limitedly compressible, unlimitedly expansible all amorphous) directions are to highest or lowest values respectively. Shift rates are between -0.94 and -2.00 cm-1 %-1 in the axial direction, and between -1.20 and -1.70 cm-1 %-1 in the lateral direction, and between - 4.7 and -5.0 cm-1 %-1 in the acute direction. Shift rates are between -0.58 and -0.70 cm-1 %-1 in the axial direction, and between -0.57 and -0.64 cm-1 %-1 in the lateral direction, and between -0.8 and -1.0 cm-1 %-1 in the acute direction. Shift rates are between -0.31 and -0.64 cm-1 %-1 in the axial direction, and between -0.30 and -0.44 cm-1 %-1 in the lateral direction, and between -0.62 and -0.65 cm-1 %-1 in the acute direction. Shift rates are between -2.60 and -3.00 cm-1 %-1 in the axial direction, and between -2.4 and -2.75 cm-1 %-1 in the lateral direction, and between -1.6 and -1.9 cm-1 %-1 in the acute direction. The acute directions of only bacterial cellulose appeared to have moved onto the axial and lateral directions over straining time due to desorption (moisture loss) the over straining time of the highly sorptive (hygroscopic) bacterial cellulose. Even though 1D straight flax fibre is highly lignified, it still shows higher auxetics (-7) in the acute (all amorphous) directions than the axial and lateral directions, given that lignin would limit expansibility in the lateral direction. Auxetics in the acute (all amorphous) would be expected to be much higher (<< -7) in 1D straight delignified flax fibre. Both the crystal and amorphous components of naturally composited cellulose samples are auxetic but cellulose amorphous is a lot more auxetic (<< -1 i.e. → -2.2) than cellulose crystals (~ -1). Auxetics (before-intermolecular-hydrogen-bonding-yield-point) of cellulose crystals are in the order of what has been reported by Peura and others using x-ray defractometry. Random networking of cellulose microfibrils along with its tangle and bifurcations may confer higher strain to failure but certainly limits expansion in all respective directions, the acute (all amorphous) directions being most prone. Even under multi-axial tensile strain as pertains in real-life, cellulose amorphous would be expected to be a lot more auxetic even under varying moisture conditions. Zeolites appear to show similar auxetic trends as naturally composited cellulose as reported by Grima and others. Zeolites must be structured in a similar way to cellulose at relevant length scales. This offers opportunity to explore functional composites from cellulose and zeolites.
    Progress in Paper Physics: Spanning Nano-to-Macro Scales of Research and Industry; 09/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Conventional wood preservatives are not only toxic to target bio-deterioration organisms but also to humans, other organisms and the environment. In an effort to find preservatives that are less toxic or non-toxic to man, other organisms and the environment, efficacy of branch bark and heartwood water extracts (0.65 g/ml) of Erythropleum suaveolens (potrodom) and Distemonanthus benthamianus (bonsamdua) were tested on five less used species (LUS) namely, Sterculia oblonga (ohaa), Antiaris toxicaria (kyenkyen), Canarium ediwonua), Celtis zenkeri (esa-kokoo) and Cola gigantea (watapuo) of varying perviousness and retentiveness from varying contents of hydrophobic and water-repellent extractives and/or extraneous substances in wood and/or vessels. Bonsandua extracts were more resistant to leaching, but potrodom extractives improved durability of Canarium schweinfurthii more than bonsamdua extractives. Potrodom bark extracts could be readily employed to preserve non-recalcitrant low durability timber species such as C. schweinfurthii, and possibly recalcitrant low durability ones such as S. oblonga after some form of pre-treatment and/or under pressure conditions. Improved durability of immersed and brushed LUS was ranked as follows: C. gigantea > C. zenkeri > S. oblonga > A. toxicaria > C. schweinfurthii proving that the natural durability of timber is somewhat dependent on their level of recalcitrance from intrinsic hydrophobic and/or water-repellent extractives and/or extraneous substances. Though extracts showed reduced efficacy with time, the use of potrodom extractives for the preservation (control of pests) of non-recalcitrant low durability wood is promising.
    Journal of the Indian Academy of Wood Science. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In an effort to find new preservatives which are less hazardous, the efficacy of branch bark, leaf, and heartwood water extractives of Erythropleum suaveolens (Potrodom), a highly durable timber species, was tested on Antiaris toxicaria (Chenchen) and Canarium schweinfurthii (Bediwonua) of low natural durability by presssure impregnation. Impregnated Chenchen and Bediwonua were exposed in the field for 6 months in accordance with a modified EN 252. Durability ratings, hardness and mass losses were measured in assessing their field performance. Though Bediwonua and Chenchen retained branch bark water extractives minimally, it conferred the highest resistance to deterioration. Branch bark water extractives represent a potential source of wood preservative.
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    Akwasi Asamoah
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    ABSTRACT: Loss and damage will ever accompany Climate change and variability. Subsequently, different groups are going to incur different levels of loss and damage. Regardless of the degree of loss or damage incurred, there has to be an equitable means of valuing loss and damage, and proportionately giving relief for them. By the nature of human beings, there is the tendency for certain groups to receive a raw deal in the distribution of relief. Thus, all groups ought to be adequately involved in valuing loss and damage in order to receive a fair share of relief to cope with climate variability and change. The only way to ensuring equitable involvement is in participatory valuation.
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    ABSTRACT: Temperature and moisture regimes are the two key variables that determine the distribution, growth, productivity, and reproduction of plants and animals on which humans depend for their nutritional and medicinal needs (Alcamo et al. 1998; MEA, 2005; van Vuuren and Pereira, 2006; Hof et al. 2011) (Fig. 1-3). Climate change increasingly alters temperature and moisture regimes to the threat of plants and animals that support humans. Thus, increasingly threatening the very existence of humans (Hof et al., 2010; Hof et al., 2011a and Hof et al., 2011b). Current projections do not point to this trend changing in subsequent centuries, based on UNFCCC's report that the average temperature of the earth's surface has risen by 0.74°C since the late 1800s, and is expected to increase by another 1.8°C to 4°C by the year 2100 (UNFCCC, 2011) (Fig. 1). Rising temperature is emerging as the one single variable that spells the most uncertainty for human survival on earth ever since anthropogenic contributions to climate change became significant: the world's rural poor most of whom are located in Africa being at the highest risk (IPCC, 2000; ICPP, 2007; Araújo et al., 2005; Person et al., 2006 and Diniz-Filho et al., 2009). Indigenous communities of rural populations of Africa who derive all of their nutritional and medicinal needs, and/or their livelihoods solely from their immediate environments are the most threatened of this group, considering the fact that they are the least cushioned from the effects of climate change. Thus, constitute the group with the most need for a means of accurately predicting their environment in order to enhance their resilience and adaptability to the effects of climate change. Indigenous peoples have always been known to use certain obvious indicators in their environment to predict certain happenings in their environment such as incipience of water stresses and droughts, likelihood of shortened and failed growing seasons, and declines in soil nutrients with a reasonable degree of accuracy (Fig. 4-6). Nonetheless, such happenings have often been immediate to short term than medium to long term. Thus, indigenous peoples are yet to be known to use obvious indicators for
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    ABSTRACT: Conventional wood preservatives are not only toxic to target bio-deterioration organisms but also to man, other organisms and the environment. In an effort to find preservatives that are less or non- toxic to man, other organisms and the environment, efficacy of branch bark and heartwood water extracts (0.65g/ml) of Erythropleum suaveolens (potrodom) and Distemonanthus benthamianus (bonsamdua) respectively were tested on five selected less used timer species (LUS): Sterculia oblonga (ohaa), Antiaris toxicaria (kyenkyen), Canarium schweinfurthii (bediwonua), Celtis zenkeri (esa-kokoo) and Cola gigantea (watapuo) following a modified EN 252. Regardless of extract retention in selected LUS, potrodom extract improved their durability more than that of bonsamdua. Improved durability of immersed and brushed selected LUS was ranked as follows: C. gigantea > C. zenkeri > S. oblonga > A. toxicaria > C. schweinfurthii. Though extracts showed reduced efficacy with time, indications were that they could be employed to control pests in low durability woods.
    Pakistan Journal of Chemistry. 06/2013; 3(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Salinization of Ghanaian soils is on the rise. Organic matter application has not proved an effective and feasible technique for curbing this rise. Hence this paper seeks to review techniques that Ghana is using to manage its saline soils and further recommend a feasible, cost effective and beneficial technique for exhaustive research and possible adoption in the future. Halophytes appear to be the most feasible, cost effective and beneficial technique which could be adopted for the effective management of Ghanaian saline soils. But where halophytes are exotic, care must be taken to avoid competition with native species and allow preservation of agrobiodiversity.
    Octa Journal of Environmental Research. 04/2013; 1(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Rainwater is not readily available to sandy loam Ghanaian ferric lixisols. The predominance of impervious iron pan in these soils futher limits rainwater availability. In an attempt to increase rainwater availability to Nyankpala ferric lixisols, their iron pan was broken through. Average yield (number of bags) of maize from ferric lexisol with broken iron pan was compared with that with iron pan in place. At an average annual rainfall of 64.125 to 106.775 mm for Nyampkala, there was no significant difference between maize yield (20-25bgs/ha) on ferric lexisol with or without ironpan broken. Breaking of ironpan alone does not significantly increase rainwater availability to/and the productivity of Nyankpala ferric lixisols. Measures other than the breaking through of iron pan are needed to boost productivity of ferreic lesisols and their like. Research into sustaianble technologies such as permanent soil amendments for increased rainwater availability to/and productivity of ferric lixisols and their like is required.
    Octa Journal of Environmental Research. 03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Nile Basin agro-ecosystems and groundwater are as interdependent as resources found anywhere else in the biosphere. Nonetheless, Nile Basin agro-ecosystems are often managed in isolation of its groundwater, which makes its agro-security very uncertain amid increasing climate change. Isolated management amid climate change is envisioned to worsen and magnify management conflicts, especially with the obscured groundwater in the face of increasing water scarcity. To surmount such conflicts, experts recommend several approaches for the management of Nile Basin agro-resources which can be categorized under one of three main types: co-operative, non-co-operative and myopic. Most promising, practical and popular among these is the co-operative management approach which recommends the evolution of a single comprehensive plan to manage transboundary basins such as the Nile. However, there are issues with achieving co-operative management which may be viewed either as challenges or opportunities, and arise as a result of cultural, political, economic, legal, geographical, technical, historical, and institutional differences within and across Nile Basin boundaries. Knowing and understand issues very well, Nile Basin countries, in a common resolve, can turn even the tallest challenges into opportunities in a co-operative approach. Thus, this paper attempts to identify the challenges or opportunities to the co-operative management of the Nile Basin, and recommends the best way forward.
    02/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Rainwater is not readily available to sandy loam Ghanaian ferric lixisols. In an attempt to increase water availability to Nyankpala ferric lixisols, their impervious iron pan was broken. Average yield (number of bags) of maize from ferric lexisol with ironpan broken was compared with that with iron pan unbroken. At an average annual rainfall of 64.125 to 106.775 mm for Nyampkala, ferric lexisol with or without iron pan broken yielded similar quantity (20-25bgs/ha) of maize. Breaking of ironpan alone cannot increase water availability to Nyankpala ferric lixisols. Measures other than the breaking of iron pan are needed to increase water availability to ferreiclesisols and similar soils. Research into sustainable technologies such as permanent amendments for increased soil water availability to ferric lixisol and similar soils is required.
    02/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Rainwater is not adequately made available in the low-water-holding northern Ghanaian topsoils (45-150 cm) for optimum crop performance because impervious ironpans or plinthite horizons seal them off from subsoils. Even when the ironpan or plinthite horizon is broken, available soil water is still not adequate to give crops optimum performance. Limited crop performance is a threat to food security in northern Ghana amid growing population from 1.5 million (in 1990) to 1.85 million (in 2000). Thus, farmers need to optimize rainwater for increased available soil water and crop performance on these soils. One practical technique that farmers from countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo have extensively used to improve the conditions of similar soils are insitu (in-field) holes of varying dimensions (depending on geography), in which organic matter and/or stone is applied as amendments. Unfortunately, organic matter, a traditional source of amendment, has competing uses which makes it unsustainable for use on northern Ghanaian topsils. Inorganic fertilizers are not a sustainable alternative because they are expensive and leach deep down in sandy soils. Nonetheless, northern Ghana has 68.4% of its clays being kaolinite with highest water holding capacity and least swelling while laboratory test indicate that high temperature (700°C) pecan shell-based Biochar is able to increase soil organic carbon, soil pH and concentrations of Ca, K, and P of sandy soils. Laboratory tests indicate that 1-5% of naturally occurring clay, especially kaolinite, is able to improve the water holding capacity of sandy soils. Nonetheless, it is not known whether kaolinite clay is able to improve the conditions of sandy soils for increased crop performance. Thus, there is possibility of using kaolinite clay compositely with organic matter (cow dung and Biochar) to amend sandy soils to improve soil conditions and crop performance.
    The 4th IBI Biochar Congress, Beijing, China; 09/2012
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    ABSTRACT: Intsia bijuga (Colebr.) Kuntze Protologue Revis. gen. pl. 1: 192 (1891). Family Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae) Chromosome number 2n = 24 Synonyms Afzelia bijuga (Colebr.) A.Gray (1854). Vernacular names (En). (Fr). (Po). (Sw).
    Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. 02/2012; Timbers 2.
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    ABSTRACT: Myrsine melanophloeos (L.) R.Br. Protologue Prodr.: 533 (1810). Family Myrsinaceae Synonyms Rapanea melanophloeos (L.) Mez (1902), Rapanea rhododendroides (Gilg) Mez (1902). Vernacular names Cape beech (En). (Fr). (Po). (Sw).
    first edited by Lemmens, R.H.M.J. ; Louppe, D., 02/2012; Wageningen : PROTA Foundation., ISBN: 9789290814955

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